Typography and Web Advertising: Making Every Opportunity Count
By Alexander W. White
We hear it all the time:
“Advertising on the web is so different than print. It has to contend with tininess, limited bandwidth, banner ad shapes, being shoved into sidebars…no one even wants to see our ads!”
Let’s begin with a clear definition of the term advertising. It is from the Latin advertere, meaning to turn toward, thus to bring to someone’s attention, or to notice. So all advertising, whether web, print, or broadcast, must share this one attribute: It must be noticeable.
So why is so much advertising, including web advertising, so skippable? Partly, I think, because advertisers make the mistake of thinking of the audience as viewers rather than targets. The distinction is real: A viewer is one who views, which implies—but does not necessarily actually deliver—their attention. It is a soft and flabby term that describes a mostly passive audience. On the other hand, a target is one to whom an ad is aimed, and suggests aiming, accuracy, and a more active, vigorous stance by the advertiser.This is necessary in our age of sales-message bombardment—on the order of about 3,500 per person, per day.
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